Congress

Black skips more House votes than the rest of Tennessee’s U.S. House delegation combined

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, has missed 29 of the 101 votes taken on the House floor so far this year – more than any other member of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports The Tennessean. Runner-up in missed votes – 11 — is Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

The seven other members of the state’s U.S. House delegation have cumulatively missed just 12 votes this year.

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Alexander, Corker pitch better pay for songwriters (with songwriting Sen. Hatch)

Press release from Sen. Bob Corker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – U.S. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today spoke with a group of Nashville songwriters about legislation they introduced earlier this year to help ensure songwriters are paid fair market value for their songs. The legislation – the Music Modernization Act – would set up a new simplified licensing entity to make it easier for digital music companies to obtain a license to play songs and ensure songwriters are paid the royalties they are owed.

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Alexander, Corker — and Bredesen — don’t like Trump tariffs (Update: Blackburn, too)

Tennessee’s two U.S. senators, Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, are both criticizing President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum imports that were announced Thursday.

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Politicians pray and sing at Memphis stop on congressional civil rights ‘pilgrimage’

About a dozen Democrats and Republicans prayed and sang “Amazing Grace” during a solemn ceremony Friday at the site where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated nearly 50 years ago, marking the start of a three-day congressional “pilgrimage” to sites with ties to the civil rights era in the South, reports the Associated Press.

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Duncan facing ethics investigation — apparently over campaign payments to family

The House Ethics Committee is investigating U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. of Knoxville, though not giving a reason for the probe in a statement Tuesday. But there’s immediate speculation the investigation involves  payment of campaign funds to the congressman’s relatives – most notably his son, John J. Duncan III — that continued through into December of 2017 after media reporting on the matter in July. Duncan says he’s done nothing wrong.

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Alexander, Corker back bill aimed at strengthening gun background checks

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker are co-sponsors of legislation intended to strengthen background checks for gun buyers and a White House spokeswoman says President Trump, while not endorsing a specific proposal, “is supportive of efforts to improve the federal background check system.”

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Black campaign collects $225K from donors linked to company benefiting from “pollution loophole” she promoted

Donors linked to a Crossville, Tenn., truck dealership known as Fitzgerald Glider provided 12 percent of contributions to the gubernatorial campaign of U.S. Rep. Diane Black, reports the New York Times under the headline, “How $225,000 Can Help Secure a Pollution Loophole at Trump’s E.P.A.” Black is reported to have played a pivotal role in promoting a “loophole” in federal law that helps the company.

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Black skips vote on budget deal; rest of TN delegation split

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, former House Budget Committee chair who is now running for governor, skipped voting on the $400 billion budget that stopped a brief federal government shutdown on Friday. The Tennessee congressional delegation was otherwise split in the voting.

In the Senate’s 72-28 vote, Sen. Lamar Alexander voted yes; Sen. Bob Corker no.

In the House’s 240-186 vote,  Republican Rep. Jimmy Duncan of Knoxville voted no along with Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville. The state’s other Republican congressmen – Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburg, Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah and David Kustoff of Memphis – voted yes and were joined by Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis.

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Roe remains undecided about reelection; speculation underway on candidates to succeed him

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe said in Washington Monday that he will decide in the “next week or so” whether to run for a sixth term, reports Roll Call, adding that there’s already some speculation underway on who might run to replace him. Names dropped include two state representatives and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

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Roe tried to resuscitate train wreck victim

Rep. Phil Roe suspected it was already too late to save the young man lying near the wreckage of a train-truck collision this week, but he began to administer CPR anyway, reports the News Sentinel.

A retired physician, Roe continued working with the patient until EMTs arrive. But his first impression had been right.

The man, Christopher Foley, 28, of Louisa County, Va., had died when the garbage truck in which he was a passenger was struck by an Amtrak train carrying Roe and other Republican members of Congress to a retreat in West Virginia.

“It was really frustrating to not be able to do anything for this man,” Roe recalled Thursday.

To Foley’s family, Roe sends this message: “I don’t think he suffered at all. I think (death) was instantaneous.”